The seat that defined Prada Men’s 2019 Spring/Summer Show

MILAN – It’s not often that furniture defines the space that surrounds it – unless the design is by OMA’s research division AMO. In the studio’s latest design for the Prada Men’s Spring/Summer 2019 Fashion Show earlier this month, Verner Panton’s inflatable stools become the main architectural element of the space.

‘From an architectural point of view, the spatial elements of a show design are quite limited, so the furniture is central to the guest’s experience of the show,’ say Giacomo Ardesio and Giulio Margheri of AMO. ‘We often choose specific furniture to define Prada’s sets – some iconic ones were the blue foam ones from the Spring/Summer 2012 show, or the beds in Autumn/Winter 2017. This season, the themes were transparency and plastic materials.’

One could argue that Panton’s work is part of Prada’s DNA

A collaboration between Verpan and Prada, the transparent cube-shaped stool is an exclusive revival of an iconic design by Verner Panton from the 1960s. ‘The minimalism and simplicity of the stools fitted the themes well,’ say the designers, and ‘their proportions gave us the idea to use a regular grid to organize the overall space, which led to the set design we named Cartesian Space.’

The regularity of a grid system enabled AMO to return to ‘a simple set that does not interfere with the collection,’ in contrast to the extravagant and lavish scenography seen in other fashion week shows and previously designed by AMO themselves. The Verner Panton stools are simple yet playful, with a unique quality of transparency that amplifies the use of light and colour in the space. The resulting set resembles a science fiction museum or space centre, complete with low-lux lighting and surfaces drenched in luminosity, the hundreds of transparent plastic cubes appearing to contain air supplies or preserved objects.

 

Comprising white abstract graphics and transparent ‘architectural furniture’ that both disappears into and is enhanced by the light, Cartesian Space affords Panton’s design a second life. A long-term love affair is apparent between Prada and Verner Panton, whose modular cloverleaf sofa is an unmistakably present in most Prada stores around the world. ‘One could argue that Panton’s work is part of Prada’s DNA,’ say the designers.


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